Last updated August 2020.
We have converted the Pinewood Derby to a virtual event for 2020-21!!!
Every year, Pack 83 holds the Pinewood Derby race. Pack 83 provides each Cub Scout with an official Pinewood Derby kit at the December Pack Meeting. You and your child will design the car and build it together, and then race it on Pack 83’s 50-foot 4-lane aluminum track. For this year’s dates, times and locations — including the Friday check-in and Saturday race times — see our calendar.
Pack 83’s Official Pinewood Derby Rules
Please read the official pinewood derby rules! It is important to understand the rules before you start working on your car. Please make sure that your Scout’s car meets THESE rules. Cars will be disqualified for non-compliance — which is really tough on the scout and parent. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Den Leader with any questions. Be aware that not all scout packs have the same rules.
- Use the Official Pinewood Derby Kits from the Scout Store or Pack 83 – Some kits sold at hobby shops are not official – the kit that your child receives at the Pack 83 holiday meeting is an official kit.
- Make Sure Your Car is Within Accepted Dimensions and Weight! – Cars that are too long, too tall, too wide, too low to the ground, or too heavy will be disqualified. 5 ounces is the max weight.
- Careful with the wheels! – Axles may be polished, but may not be machined, reduced in diameter more than 1 % of their original diameter, or plated or permanently coated with any finish. The heads on the axles may not be modified or reduced except to remove flashing or to polish. Reshaping, tapering, grooving, or otherwise modifying the axles will disqualify the car. No “PineCar” axles will be accepted.
- Car inspection and registration is held the Friday before the derby. – See the calendar for details. Here your car will be inspected and, if anything is wrong, you’ll have the opportunity to fix it. Your car will be kept until the race.
Ways to “Win”
- Every scout who finishes their car will receive a Pinewood Derby badge for their accomplishment!
- Pre-race the scouts will each vote, based on car looks alone, for what they think is the best car in each of these categories:
- I Did it Myself
- Fastest Looking
- Silliest Looking
- Den winners — each Den has a Gold, Silver, and Bronze winner.
- Pack winners — the top 5 cars get to participate in the District Finals — this typically takes place inside of Hillsdale Shopping Center.
Helpful Articles / Videos
There are tons of web sites, YouTube Videos, books, and other resources on building winning cars… feel free to explore them. Below are some articles / videos we liked – let us know if you find a good one (or make one!) that we should add to this list. Again, keep in mind not all packs have the same rules, so be sure to follow our rules.
- EASY Pinewood Derby Car WINS using Science!!! – YouTube (but note! modified wheels are not allowed for Pack 83)
- Use Science to Build the Fastest Pinewood Derby Car – Boys’ Life
- Pinewood Derby on Wikipedia – General Information / History
Here is what the pros recommend…
- Sketch out your car on paper first. Then on the wood block. Then start cutting!
- Maximize weight — as close to 5 ounces as possible. The weight should be concentrated about 1″ from the rear axle.
- Keep aerodynamics in mind.
- Use graphite lubricant on the axles and the wheels.
- Polish the axles
- More advanced – look into riding on 3 wheels / bending the axles
MOST IMPORTANTLY — HAVE FUN. We’ll see you on race day!
There will be an Outlaw Class version of the Pinewood Derby on race day — parents and siblings are encouraged to build their own cars and enter them! The rules are much more lenient in the outlaw class – see the last page of the official pinewood derby rules for details.
- Maximum weight of 5 ounces. Official Pinewood car dimensions must be observed except for ground clearance and wheelbase.
- No rockets, jets, or propulsion of any kind (gravity only)
- Your car may not interfere with other cars
- Otherwise ALMOST anything goes! Bushings and non-official wheels and axles are OK. Electronics are OK (LED’s, phototransistors, microprocessors, batteries, etc.) as long as they do not provide propulsion or forward thrust